Council conduct and governance (interventions)

Local Government Act Review

As part of the State Government’s reform agenda, a new Local Government Act will be drafted. Our vision is for the local government sector to be agile, smart and inclusive. Our objective is to transform local government so that it is empowered to better deliver quality governance and services to their communities now and into the future.

We are looking at ways that the department can help local governments with governance issues as an area of reform.

The current system

  • The Act sets out the powers to scrutinise the affairs of local governments.
  • The complaints process for alleged breaches differs depending on the type of breach.
  • Councils make decisions based on information provided by local government administration.
  • Tendering and procurement continue to be the subject of many complaints and departmental investigations.

Consultation

The department undertook consultation on the topic of council conduct and governance during stage two of the Local Government Act review.

Interventions summary discussion paper

Interventions discussion paper

The following sections outline what was heard during consultation and how feedback will inform a new Local Government Act.

What you’ve told us

  • The community expects misconduct and organisational dysfunction to be dealt with appropriately.
  • CEOs or employees who knowingly provide false or misleading information to council should be held accountable.
  • The ability for the State to intervene to help local governments when they are in trouble is too limited.
  • A breach of the tendering provisions should be considered an offence.

Ideas for change

  • All complaints of a breach of the Act are referred to the department for investigation.
  • Issue infringement notices for some offences.
  • Embed an experienced and suitably qualified person into council and/or administration to assist with decision making.
  • Introduce an offence that applies to employees or CEOs who provide false or misleading information to council.
  • Introduce an offence for breaches of the tendering requirements.

Findings

A summary paper which outlines what we heard from the consultation is now available. The contribution of community members, local governments and others who have supported the process to date will provide valuable input to the Local Government Review Panel and help transform local government in Western Australia.

A new Local Government Act for Western Australia: smart

Local Government Act Review Overview: smart

Report
In 2017 the State Government announced a review of the Local Government Act 1995 — the first significant review since the Act was introduced more than two decades ago.

Download documents

Page reviewed 26 February 2020